How to draw a body?

chibi titan

A body is seven or eight times the size of the head

Drawing a proportionate body

To draw a realistic proportioned body, there are some rules such as:

  • body = 7 or 8 x head
  • shoulder = + one head on each side of the head
  • pubis = middle of the body
  • chest = middle; pubis - head
  • arms = shoulder - middle of thighs
  • knees = middle; pubis - foot
  • foot = forearm
  • hands = chin - hairline

To draw a body, it is helpful to understand proportions. This is the relationship between the parts of the body. For example, the size of the head in relation to the size of the whole body. If we draw a small head, of 1 centimeter, we will draw a small body, of seven centimeters, which corresponds to this head. If, on the contrary, we draw a big head, of 10 centimeters, we will draw a big body, of 70 or 80 centimeters. 

The rule is not fixed

It depends on the style of each one. For example some mangakas, to make chibi or "kawaii" characters, draw smaller bodies and bigger heads. Or the titans characters in Attack of the Titans have bigger bodies and smaller heads. Some cartoonists sometimes draw noses or feet much bigger than the rest of the body. Some kids like to draw hands much smaller.

However, before finding your style, it can be useful to know the more or less realistic proportions of a body. Let's not forget that these proportions still vary depending on the age of the person but also on his personal physical characteristics, more or less wide shoulders, more or less long legs, more or less wide hips, more or less large chest, more or less wide calves....etc.... For example, a child will have a smaller body in relation to his or her head and a smaller hip and chest than an adult. 

Here is an image that explains the proportions used to draw manga proportioned bodies:

corps proportions
To learn more about the techniques for drawing a body, Apolline offers manga drawing classes and academic drawing classes.